Every week leading up to the March primaries Naperville News 17 is bringing you coverage that will help you be informed as you head to the polls.
In this week's edition of "Your Vote" NCTV17's Natalie Vitale explores what if takes to run for office.
Long before their name gets on a ballot, candidates each had to decide if they had what it takes to run for office.
Political analyst, Kenn Miller, knows exactly what it takes to run a campaign, after holding multiple political offices throughout his life. Most recently as a Naperville city council member from 2005 to 2009.
"The most important thing a candidate can do up front is make a decision that they are committed, that this is something they really want to do because they need to show the electorate, the voters that you are really excited about it and that you can make a difference," said Miller.
Once a candidate decides to dedicate themselves to a cause, they have to become educated.
"Be knowledgeable on the issues, be aware of it. Attend the meetings of that particular office, get exposure to it and get up to speed on what the issues are and what solutions you could provide for these issues," said Miller.
Longtime political consultant, Julie Lichter agrees.
"They really need to do their background work, they need to know exactly what the qualifications are for their office, if they meet the residential requirements, and then really do their homework," said Licher.
Once political hopefuls are well rounded in their chosen office, it's time to get a team together.
"That's critical because you can't do it all yourself, and there are people that do and maybe you have family helping which is okay, but you need a fairly large team and you separate out the duties so people aren't falling over each other. Make sure they are strong and committed to the campaign," said Miller.
The team is responsible for generating buzz about the candidates, which can be a costly task.
"Local campaigns can run into the tens, thousands of dollars to run for a city council office," said Lichter.
That money goes to everything from yard signs, and brochures, to buying valuable ad time on television and other mediums, but you don't have to raise it all alone
"You should do fundraisers and that type of thing. Someone might have the wherewithal and put a lot of money into the race. But people that contribute to your campaign are ones that will support you. So you need to fundraise not only for the money itself but for people to commit to your race," said Miller
The most important thing is for the candidate to connect with voters.
"You need to be out there in the community, so they can get to know you and asking for their support. So its very important that they are out in the community going to different service clubs, chamber of commerce events, those types of things," said Miller.
"You need to reach every corner of your district no matter if it's a school board, county board, park district, cover every part of your district. Really get out of your comfort zone and always ask for peoples votes and make sure they know your name," said Lichter.